LA Times: For cable networks, holiday movies are the gift that keeps on giving

Even Ebenezer Scrooge might have been impressed with how TV networks are profiting from holiday movies.

Along with early displays of decorations by retailers, the continuous loop of holiday music on radio and the festive color of Starbucks coffee cups, nothing rings in the season quite like the volley of holiday movies that flood the small screen.

Hallmark and its Hallmark Movies spinoff, for example, are showing 21 new original Christmas-themed movies this year, up from just 13 in 2010. Lifetime has seven of its own, and the Atlanta-based cable TV channel UP TV has three in its bank, in addition to returning holiday movies of years past.

These holiday movies are proliferating because they're cheap to produce, generate strong ratings and lots of advertising revenue for the television networks. Hallmark parent Crown Media Holdings credited its holiday programming for helping to spur an 11% increase in advertising revenue last year to $328 million.

November and December are key months for advertisers that want to get in front of consumers in festive moods. Advertisers spent $13.8 billion on television spots during November and December last year, comprising 18% of all ad dollars spent in 2014, according to ad-tracking firm Kantar Media.

"Advertisers are attracted to eyeballs," said Jason Maltby, head TV buyer at the prominent advertising agency Mindshare. "There's the added benefit that holiday programming tends to be upbeat and positive, and you're always looking to put your brand message in an environment that makes people feel good."

Read the full piece for insights on ratings, investment costs, and more: http://www.latimes.com/entertainment/envelope/cotown/la-et-ct-holiday-tv-movies-20151124-story.html

Posted on November 25, 2015 .